Srinagar: Asserting that government hospitals are duty bound to provide free treatment to patients, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday alleged that patients are charged hefty sums for tests, procedures and medicines in these hospitals in the valley.
‘It is unfair for government hospitals to charge patients as they have an obligation to provide services free of cost,’ DAK president Nisar ul Hassan said.
‘It is the poor who visit government hospitals with a hope that they will receive free treatment, but to their disappointment, they have to pay huge money to meet their health needs,’ he said.
The DAK president said it is painful to see poor patients leaving hospitals without treatment because they cannot afford expenses of tests and medicines. ‘Despite the availability of latest equipment at government hospitals, patients are deprived of treatment because of financial constraints,’ he said, adding that all these advances are meaningless if patients cannot avail them.
Dr Hassan said government hospitals in Kashmir are no less than private hospitals when it comes to spending money. ‘Cardiac patients have to pay Rs 1, 20,000 for pacing, Rs 70,000 for angioplasty and Rs 30,000 for radio frequency ablation. For coronary angiography and electrophysiological studies patients are charged Rs 5500 each,’ he said.
He said Contrast enhanced CT scan costs Rs 3,700 to patients and CT angiography Rs 4,200, adding MR angiography and MR spectroscopy and contrast enhanced MRI costs Rs 3,700 each.
‘If a patient wants to correct his refractory error by LASIK (Laser eye surgery), he/she has to pay Rs 10,000,’ he said.
Dr Hassan said from simple tests like CBC, KFT, LFT, Lipid profile, thyroid function, Urine examination, X-ray’s, ECG to hospital stay, patients are charged.
‘While government has announced free drugs in government hospitals, the patients have to pay even for life-saving medicines. If someone gets a heart attack, he/she has to pay Rs 30,000 for tenecteplase, a thrombolytic drug that dissolves clot in clogged arteries and restores blood flow to heart. Poor have to end up on compromise in treatment as they cannot afford this costly drug,’ he added.